Don't ask questions like "Can I ask something?", just ask a real question.
Often people new to Chats, Forums etc. ask if they can ask something to get
help from a competent and helpful person. But such questions are often ignored
or you'll get told that nobody can help you, without knowing the problem.
And after such a question there will always be another question.
Pros of such a question
As polite behaviour to gather attention
The beginning of a onesided conversation (general problem analysis)
Cons of such a question
The listening people could be helpful, but they won't claim (out of modesty) to
be familiar with the topic
Often such questions are asked the wrong way, for example someone may ask
"can somebody here cook?" if he wants to know if mangos are eatable
Even if someone is familiar with a the topic, it can be that he doesn't
know the answer for a specific question — nobody is all-knowing
If there is no response to the question, the asker often remains quiet.
This way nobody who later pays attention to it can help with the problem.
"Can somebody help me?"
"May I ask a question?"
"Is anybody here?"
"I've got a question about…"
"Can I ask you something?"
"Does someone know something about…?"
"Can someone help me with FTP servers?"
"Is somebody here who is familiar with divorces?"
"Do you have time?"
This is a rough translation of metafrage.de.
If you have ANY suggestions or improvements, send a mail to